And in a mad dash to reach the paddock, he bumped over a central reservation and hurtled down the wrong side of the road.
The 28-year-old then stunned the home crowd, who came here to roar on his Mercedes’ teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, by pinching pole with a last-gasp flying lap.
And this came after what the 2008 world champion claimed had been a “disastrous” weekend.
He said: “It’s really overwhelming to get pole after the last couple of days I’ve had.
“We have been struggling since first practice, through second and third. They were just disasters.
“And it was even worse this morning. We went into the truck, worked hard, made a lot of changes and, fortunately, the car was beneath me and I was able to put in the time I did. “I’m proud to get pole but Sunday is the important day.
“I just hope I can give Red Bull a run for their money.”
Hamilton, who also took pole position at Silverstone last week, will have to fend off a challenge from Vettel and his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, who qualified in second and third.
Last Sunday’s British Grand Prix winner Rosberg was left fuming at his team after their gamble not to send him out for a second run in Q2 meant he qualified in 11th.
He groaned: “The team underestimated it and it did not really work out.”
Today’s race had been under threat as F1 stars considered going on strike following the tyre blow-outs which rocked the British GP.
However, the new Pirelli rubber, which has been re-enforced with bulletproof material Kevlar, stood up to the brutal Nurburgring circuit.
And Vettel, who has never won his home Grand Prix — or in July — does not expect there to be a problem this afternoon.
He added: “I am confident we won’t have any problems but once the race starts we leave it to race director Charlie Whiting.
“We can’t see from the cockpit what is going on. Charlie is the one who will be deciding. We had a good chat with him on Thursday night and he is aware of what is going on.
“We were close to having a red flag at Silverstone and we’ve learned our lesson.”
Jenson Button again struggled to trouble the pace-setters and will start in ninth.
But the Brit is optimistic about turning his sluggish McLaren around.
He said: “My lap was as good as it’s going to get for us at the moment — in fact, it was one of the best laps I’ve done in a very long time.